Rising Stars

Aviation (including aerospace and defence) in India

Kochhar & Co.

At Kochhar & Co., the aviation and defence group was strengthened in February 2021 with the arrival of Mumbai-based practice co-head Sheetal Sabnis, who joined the firm from an in-house role at Go Airlines India, and was previously a partner at Gagrats; she will oversee the group with Ajith CR in Chennai. The team continues to cater to a global client base of airlines, operators, and defence organisations in both contentious and non-contentious matters, including aircraft financing, transactional mandates, and cargo-related litigation. Nishant Menon is a key contact in the firm’s dispute resolution and regulatory practice, where ongoing instructions include acting for Air France in major disputes across India. Other core areas of work are aircraft acquisitions and leasings, regulatory support, and contractual negotiations.

Practice head(s):

Ajith C. R.; Sheetal Sabnis

Other key lawyers:

Nishant Menon

Key clients

Air France / KLM Royal Dutch Airlines

Bellgeo Enterprise Limited

British Airways

DNATA (Dubai National Air Travel Agency)

Emirates

Kuwait Airways

Longview Aviation/ Longview India Pvt Ltd

Panasonic Avionics

Quantas

Work highlights

  • Advising British Airways on wide-ranging legal matters across various locations including Delhi-NCR, Chennai, Bangalore and Mumbai.

Link Legal

Link Legal remains a market leader in the aviation space and has a proven track record of acting for a wide roster of domestic and international airlines under the leadership of practice heads Atul SharmaAnand Srivastava, and corporate partner Milind Jha. The team handles transactional matters including aircraft financing, acquisitions, and leasing arrangements, regulatory work and litigation; recent instructions include advising GMR Hyderabad International Airport on competitive bidding and contractual negotiations for the airport’s expansion project. On the contentious side, Abhishek Sharma and Milanka Chaudhury are key contacts, handling litigation and arbitration for clients in relation to regulatory issues, aircraft maintenance contracts, and share purchase agreements.

Key clients

GMR Hyderabad International Airport Limited (GHIAL)

SpiceJet Limited

Kalyan Jewellers India Limited

Delhi Aviation Fuel Facility Private Limited (DAFFPL)

Delhi International Airport Limited (DIAL)

Bangalore International Airport Limited

Turbo Aviation Limited

Navi Mumbai International Airport Limited

National Industrial Corridor Development & Implementation Trust (NICDIT)

Big Charter Private Limited (FlyBig)

Air India Limited

GMR Goa International Airport Limited

Flight Simulation Solutions Private Limited (FSSPL)

GMR Vishakhapatnam International Airport Limited

WAISL Limited

Work highlights

  • Advising Air India Limited, the national carrier of India, on its proposed disinvestment transaction, pursuant to which the Government of India will transfer its stake in Air India to another party pursuant to a competitive tendering process.
  • Advised SpiceJet Limited on the launch of seaplane services for the first time in India in the State of Gujarat.
  • Represented Delhi International Airport Limited in a challenge to the imposition of Rs. 2,600 crore in property tax by the Delhi Cantonment Board on land forming part of the airport.

RNClegal

RNClegal continues to occupy a market-leading position in the aviation space due to its strength in international aircraft leasing matters across the Southeast Asian and Middle Eastern jurisdictions. Managed by Ajay Kumar, the team handles litigation pertaining to damages and repossessions, and transactional work. Ravi Nath and principal associate Neha Singh are also core team members.

Practice head(s):

Ajay Kumar

Other key lawyers:

Ravi Nath; Neha Singh

AZB & Partners

AZB & Partners’ aviation practice has particular strength in transactional mandates spanning aircraft financing, leasing, and restructurings. Managed by Anand Shah from the Mumbai office, the group also handles contractual matters for manufacturers and regulatory work. On the contentious side, the team regularly handles large insolvency proceedings for major domestic airlines, backed by the firm’s litigation department, which is headed by Rajendra Barot.

Practice head(s):

Anand Shah

Other key lawyers:

Rajendra Barot

Key clients

GE Capital Aviation Service

TATA SIA Airlines Limited (known as Vistara)

Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corporation

DBS Bank

InterGlobe Aviation Limited (known as Indigo)

SDH Wings International Leasing Limited

Sculptor Capital Investments, LLC

Deutsche Bank AG

Avions De Transport Regional, G.I.E

Zurich Airport International AG

Work highlights

  • Acted as Indian law transaction counsel to Vistara and DBS Bank on the financing and leasing of three B787-9 Dreamliners for $575m.
  • Acted as sole lead counsel to the Resolution Professional of Jet Airways (India) Limited on the purchase of six Boeing 777 aircraft from US EXIM.
  • Acted as Indian counsel to SDH Wings on the sale and leaseback transaction for one A320neo aircraft, which was leased to Indigo.

Gagrats

Gagrats has a reputable aviation practice which handles transactional mandates including aircraft financings, acquisitions, and cross-border sales. Overseen by seasoned practitioner Rustam Gagrat, the group counts various domestic and international airlines as key clients, and also advises on contractual agreements and equipment leasing.

Practice head(s):

Rustam Gagrat

JSA Law

At JSA Law, the civil aviation practice is singled out for its strength in litigation and has appeared in cases before the Supreme Court of India. Leading domestic carriers and international airlines engage the firm for contractual disputes, as well as for commercial and corporate finance matters. The team also handles aircraft leasings and aircraft financings. In Delhi, seasoned practitioner Poonam Verma leads the team, while joint managing partner Amit Kapur is the key contact for complex regulatory issues. Shivpriya Nanda in Haryana advises major transport clients on privatisation projects and M&A and other transactions.

Practice head(s):

Poonam Verma

Other key lawyers:

Amit Kapur; Shivpriya Nanda

Work highlights

    Khaitan & Co.

    Khaitan & Co LLP has strength in the aerospace and defence area and counts a number of major military defence companies, technology suppliers, and service providers as key clients. Under the leadership of national group head Kabir Bogra, the teams advises on high-value contractual negotiations, regulatory issues, and joint ventures. Tushaar Talwar assists clients with procurement, industrial licensing, and taxation matters. Other members of the practice include corporate contact Tanvi Kumar and litigation partner Divya Chaturvedi.

    Practice head(s):

    Kabir Bogra

    Testimonials

    ‘Excellent knowledge of Indian defence-related regulation and experience advising non-Indian defence companies on their Indian affairs.’

    ‘Kabir Bogra is responsive, creative and understands business considerations very well.’

    Key clients

    General Atomics

    James Fisher Defence

    Israel Aerospace Industries

    Lockheed Martin

    Safran Electrical & Power

    Gokaldas Images Private Limited

    Federation of Indian Airlines

    Work highlights

    • Advised General Atomics with respect to the leasing of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) by the Ministry of Defence.
    • Advised James Fisher Defence on entering into a contract with the Ministry of Defence for supply of deep sea rescue vessels.
    • Advised Israel Aerospace Industries on the supply of several UAVs to the Indian Armed Forces.

    Sarin & Co.

    Under the leadership of aviation specialist Nitin Sarin, boutique firm Sarin & Co. has strength in aircraft financing and leasing and is engaged by several international carriers. Housed in Chandigarh and New Delhi, the group also handles regulatory work for domestic operators and has extensive litigation experience, covering baggage and cargo claims. Other areas of activity include advising defence companies on procurement tenders.

    Practice head(s):

    Nitin Sarin

    Trilegal

    Trilegal continues to be active in the aviation and defence space, with a track record of representing major international and national companies. Jointly managed by corporate partners Yogesh Singh and Delano Furtado, who is based in the Mumbai office, the full-service practice excels in advising aerospace sector clients on aviation joint ventures, as well as assisting with contractual issues. The team leverages its experience in disputes to advise on sensitive bribery-related investigations by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), supported by Ashish Bhan. Complex regulatory work also features in the caseload.

    Practice head(s):

    Yogesh SinghDelano Furtado

    Other key lawyers:

    Ashish Bhan

    Testimonials

    ‘They understand the unique challenges of international aerospace and defence contracts. The team has a wealth of experience.’

    ‘Yogesh Singh is easy to work with and understands our requirements really well. His knowledge of the sector and experience comes in handy for our customer negotiations.’

    Key clients

    Tata SIA Airlines Limited (Vistara)

    AgustaWestland International Limited

    Embraer S.A.

    SES S.A. (SES)

    Lohia Aerospace systems

    Zipline International Inc.

    Etihad Aviation Group PJSC (“Etihad”)

    Rossell Techsys

    Work highlights

    • Advising Tata SIA Airlines Limited (Vistara) on various matters related to its operations in India and assisting in drafting its internal policies and agreements.
    • Advising Leonardo Spa on an investigation by the CBI and Directorate of Enforcement in relation to allegations of bribery in a multimillion-dollar VVIP helicopter supply contract and related court proceedings.

    Advaita Legal

    At Advaita Legal, the practice under the leadership of Monali Dutta is experienced in handling complex regulatory and transactional mandates for industry regulators and private airline carriers. The team advises on development projects, contractual matters, and aircraft financings. International defence companies also retain the group for support.

    Practice head(s):

    Monali Dutta

    Work highlights

      Advaya Legal

      Advaya Legal’s aviation practice is led by Ramesh Vaidyanathan, who is the main point of contact for domestic and international clients on all matters concerning airport developments and aviation-related transactions, owing to his prior experience as general counsel of Mumbai International Airport. The team also has extensive expertise in advising on financing agreements, cross-border aircraft registrations and deregistrations, and commercial matters.

      Practice head(s):

      Ramesh Vaidyanathan

      Work highlights

        DSK Legal

        DSK Legal’s Mumbai-based aviation practice is active in the airports sector and is singled out for its work with government bodies on large PPP/PFI matters. Under the leadership of Anjan DasguptaDinesh Pardasani and Ajay Shaw, the team is advising on several greenfield projects in India, including the tender for the development of facilities at the greenfield international airport under construction in Goa. Commercial arbitrations also feature in the workload, whilst infrastructure matters are dealt with by Avinash Kumar Khard, who sits within the firm’s project finance group.

        Testimonials

        ’DSK has a very efficient team who understand the needs of the client very well, particularly in the aviation industry, and can deliver the desired output within the timelines agreed. The turnaround has been excellent.’

        ‘Our interaction particularly with Anjan Dasgupta has been very comfortable and the experience with him has been enriching.’

        Harvinder Singh remains open to ideas and suggestions. His approach, projecting calm and patience, is particularly helpful during multi-party debates.

        The team remained reachable throughout the pandemic. The partners stepped up to meet the steepest of turnaround commitments. The firm has shown understanding and fee flexibility.’

        Key clients

        City and Industrial Development Corporation of Maharashtra Limited (CIDCO)

        MIHAN India Limited

        Maharashtra Airport Development Company Limited

        Mumbai International Airport Private Limited

        Zurich Airport International AG

        DSR Consultants

        GMR Goa International Airport Limited

        Airports Economic Regulatory Authority of India

        GMR Visakhapatnam International Airport Limited

        Mazagon Dock Shipbuilders Limited

        Work highlights

        • Acted as consultant to GMR Goa International Airport Limited on the tender for the development of facilities at the greenfield international airport at Goa.
        • Advising City and Industrial Development Corporation of Maharashtra Limited in relation to the Navi Mumbai International Airport project.
        • Advised Zurich Airport International AG on its bid to develop a greenfield airport (Noida International Airport) at Jewar, Noida.

        I.L.A. Pasrich & Company

        I.L.A. Pasrich & Company’s aviation practice is led by seasoned practitioner Amir Singh Pasrich and is well known in the market for acting for the largest international airlines, including British Airways. The team represents clients before the courts in a wide range of matters, including criminal proceedings, competition cases, consumer disputes, and damages claims.

        Practice head(s):

        Amir Singh Pasrich

        Key clients

        British Airways PLC

        Swiss International Air Lines

        Delta Air Lines

        Bristow Helicopters Group Ltd.

        Ashley Aviation Ltd.

        Ikigai Law

        At Ikigai Law, the aviation practice group specialises in technology and innovation matters in the aerospace area, and handles complex regulatory issues for leading clients. Managing partner Anirudh Rastogi oversees the team, and advises on a range of matters, including commercial contracts, satellite manufacturing, and litigation involving drone technology for defence companies. Indian space-tech start-ups often consult the team on contract negotiations for satellite launches; Nehaa Chaudhari is recommended for advising tech start-ups.

        Practice head(s):

        Anirudh Rastogi

        Other key lawyers:

        Nehaa Chaudhari

        Testimonials

        ‘My team regularly goes to the firm for advice on government tenders in the defence and aerospace sectors and for regulatory, contractual and pre-dispute advice. Some practical advice in the past has helped us avoid significant litigation. I have found the Ikigai team to be very solution-oriented, which I have sometimes found to be missing in other law firms’ teams.’

        ’We receive regular updates from the team on industry and legal developments which are typically a cut above the rest. It is a passionate, driven team that we can look at as a partner to our business.’

        ‘Nehaa Chaudhari has advised us on policy issues. She has an eye on what’s happening in the industry and with the regulator which is very helpful. Anirudh Rastogi has been a sounding board for us for several years and we go to him for all our strategic calls. We also receive good support from the associates.’

        Work highlights

          L&L Partners Law Offices

          L&L Partners Law Offices’ aviation team is experienced in handling aircraft financings for domestic and international airlines. The team also advises aerospace manufacturers on corporate issues and transactions.

          Wadia Ghandy & Co

          Wadia Ghandy & Co’s team has notable strength in contentious aviation matters, spanning all areas of dispute resolution, and is headed by Marylou Bilawala in Mumbai. Aircraft financings, refinancings, and regulatory work also feature in the caseload.

          Practice head(s):

          Marylou Bilawala

          ALMT Legal

          At ALMT Legal, the practice is jointly managed by Sameer Tapia in Mumbai and S R Arun in Bangalore, and advises both domestic and international airline carriers on high-value cargo claims, airline liability matters, and leasing disputes. In a recent example, the group acted in proceedings before the Delhi High Court concerning a dispute over an aircraft lease agreement.

          Practice head(s):

          Sameer Tapia; SR Arun

          Key clients

          Aviators Air Rescue Private Limited

          Ezen Aviation PTY Limited

          Work highlights

          • Representing Ezen Aviation PTY Limited in ongoing proceedings before the Delhi High Court in relation to certain disputes over an aircraft lease agreement executed by the company with a third party.
          • Advised Aviators Air Rescue Private Limited on an investment matter.
          • Advised Aviators India Private Limited on the restructuring of the company, as well as aviation law issues.

          BRUS CHAMBERS, Advocates & Solicitors

          Suhail Farooqui leads the aviation team at BRUS CHAMBERS, Advocates & Solicitors, which handles an assortment of financing matters for international airlines. Other work includes advising on major fleet purchases, corporate matters, and aircraft leasing arrangements.

          Practice head(s):

          Suhail Farooqui

          Lumiere Law Partners

          Vihang Virkar jointly manages the aviation team at Lumiere Law Partners alongside Ayesha Rai. The team handles aircraft financing and leasing matters for domestic carriers and also advises on contractual negotiations and transactions, including M&A. It is also active in litigation.

          Practice head(s):

          Vihang Virkar; Ayesha Rai

          Key clients

          Go Airlines (India) Ltd.

          ALAFCO

          Go Airlines (India) Ltd.

          Babcock & Brown Air Funding